Meat Industry INSIGHTS Newsletter

971146 Maple Leaf Wants Equipment Out Of Edmonton

November 26, 1997

Winnipeg - Maple Leaf Foods Inc, Canada's largest food processor, said it sought an injunction to allow trucks through picket lines at its Edmonton, Alberta, packing plant so it could remove equipment.

Maple Leaf has warned since September it would close its 91-year-old pork packing plant in Edmonton if the facility's 850 unionized workers went on strike.

"We're seeking an injunction to get access to the Edmonton plant in order to shut this facility," Maple Leaf spokeswoman Linda Smith said. "Two trucks were turned back yesterday and another one was turned back today."

United Food and Commercial Workers local 541 officials were not available for comment.

Maple Leaf shares on Wednesday gained 0.05 to 16.05 as 545,342 shares changed hands on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The processor has repeatedly said it could not re-start a plant this old once the machines were shut down. The factory emplyed another 150 salaried employees.

Maple Leaf has been redirecting its hogs to other packers elsewhere in Canada as well as to the United States.

Industry analysts said as many as 15,000 more Canadian hogs entered the U.S. each week due to Maple Leaf's strikes.

The firm's flagship packing plant in Burlington, Ont., went out on strike Nov 15. That plant slaughtered 32,500 hogs a week while the Edmonton facility killed 28,000 hogs.

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